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Texas chemical plant fire blackens skies, forces evacuations

October 3, 2011 | 12:41 pm

Texas_fire

A raging fire at a chemical plant in Waxahachie, Texas, triggered widespread safety evacuations Monday as it coughed black smoke high into the sky.

No one was injured, and the cause of the fire at Magnablend Inc. was not immediately known. "Everybody is out and safe," Donald Golden, environmental health and safety manager for Magnablend, told CNN. There were about 25 to 30 employees in the facility at the time.

The fire began about 10:30 a.m. local time and forced evacuations within an eight-block radius. A school, apartment building and other businesses were also evacuated, Diana Buckley, an official with Ellis County, told CNN.

It was not clear what health risks, if any, might be posed by the fire. Magnablend's website says it does custom chemical manufacturing, blending and packaging.

The fire, about 30 miles south of Dallas, made for dramatic TV as orange flames engulfed the property, including tanker cars. For safety, firefighters pulled back from the flames and resorted to using ladder trucks to spray water on the fire, city spokeswoman Amy Hollywood told CNN.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality was reportedly mobilizing air-monitoring equipment to gauge whether further precautions need to be taken.

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-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: The Magnablend chemical plant in Waxahachie, Texas. Credit: WFAA.com

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